Highland Flats development doesn’t get approval from Summit County Planning Commission

Developers say they aren’t giving up on their proposal.

The Summit County Planning Commission said it can’t recommend a high-density housing project near Highland Estates, but the developers behind the project said they aren’t giving up.

A group of companies, including Breen Homes and the Colmena Group, wants to build 410 new homes for rent, including 144 affordable dwellings, on a 41-acre parcel off of Interstate 80 in the Highland Estates neighborhood in Park City. The Highland Flats project comes amid skyrocketing housing prices that are making the resort town increasingly unaffordable for workers in a host of hospitality and service jobs.

Residents who live near the location have expressed a variety of concerns about the project, including that it will threaten the residential feel of their community and increase traffic issues.

The county planning commission gave the project a negative recommendation on March 9. Commissioners said they like the project but think it is in the wrong place, suggesting that a location with more public transit would be better suited.

Bruce Carmichael said Highland Estates’ neighborhood plan talks about preserving residential character and mitigating traffic impacts. The commissioner said he thinks the developers’ proposal will impact traffic not only in Highland Estates but also in neighborhoods like Trailside and Old Ranch Road.

“To me, this has a long way to go before it could be something I would support,” he said.

Commissioner Chris Conabee said he thinks the project is exactly what the county needs, but is proposed in the wrong area.

After the meeting, the developers issued a news release saying they intend to keep trying to get their project approved as they work with the Summit County Council. They said they will conduct a traffic study through approved engineers.

“We understand that neighbors will always be resistant to affordable housing no matter where it is proposed, and it’s unfortunate that they want to close the door behind them and prevent those who serve the community from living here,” Adam Breen of Breen Homes said in the news release.

“Fears about an increase in crime, overcrowding schools, and a threat to property values are completely unfounded,” he continued. “Local leaders claim housing for workers is a priority, yet they have done little to facilitate it. We are offering a viable solution with rentals that create a pathway for home ownership and greater socioeconomic diversity for a more sustainable community.”